21 January 2013

Men of SS Prinz Eugen Riding On a Hotchkiss H-39 During Operation Weiss

Image size: 1600 x 1167 pixel. 374 KB
Date: Wednesday, 20 January 1943
Place: Karst region, Yugoslavia
Photographer: Unknown

The German infantry of 7.SS-Freiwilligen-Gebrigs-Division "Prinz Eugen" riding on a captured French tank Somua Hotchkiss H-39 tank during Unternehmen Weiß, somewhere in the karst region of the western Balkan. There's one fine description of how the Partisans captured a Hotchkiss tanks used by 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen in "Weiß" in the book by Mladen Paver "Bataljon Feniks". The crew had to bail out and they took the bolt action along, so the Partisans had a tank with useless cannon. Tank was shipped to "Main tech.service" and engineeres were told to try and repair the cannon. Željko Kraus (the main engineer) was convinced that he can do that, but nor he, or his associates ever saw cannon's bolt action. They went to the front to check out some AT cannons and howitzers in order to get the idea what they must to. Sketches were made, and 10 days later the job was done! They tried it. After fired shell bolt action jammed and lost it's shape. They made a new one out of better materials - this one was fine, and it served without malfunctions until the end of the war!


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